Our family was first introduced to the Navajo taco during one of our trips to the great Grand Canyon national park. There is a restaurant inside the park, on the south rim, called the El Tovar dining room, and this dish was being served for lunch. What was even more appealing to us was that they were doing a vegetarian version! How could we go wrong? 😇 In most restaurants this dish is available only with meat as an option.
This dish comes together in under 30 mins and the cooking part only takes 15 mins. So whip this up any weekday night and wow your family!
A Navajo taco is an open-faced taco served on a ‘fry’ bread base. Toppings are typical mexican-style beans, guacamole, salsa etc. The only cooking layer is the beans layer and everything else is assembled like a buffet.
I am not a person fond of deep-frying for two reasons. One- the whole house smells of oil. Two- I am always wondering 🧐 if I should throw away the oil or use it for sautéing. 🤔 And, needless to say, deep-frying is not good for you!
So I took a thick and whole grain pita bread and toasted it to a golden, crunchy texture on a cast iron skillet with just a spoon of oil. Layer 1 done.
The 2nd layer – I prepared a robust melange of tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans and roasted corn. Just seasoned with garlic and plenty of flavorful spices. Make this a thick chilly-like consistency to scoop up and top it on the bread. This is pretty much the only cooking that will be needed and it only took a total of 15 minutes to come together!
The final layers are up to the choice of the consumer – fresh smashed guacamole, shredded lettuce, salsa, olives, etc.
We also drizzled some cheese sauce for the kids, but this is totally optional and can be omitted to be a vegan offering 🙂
So here we go, presenting our version of the open-faced Navajo taco!
open faced Navajo Taco
- 4 Whole grain Pita
- 1 cup Chickpeas cooked
- 1 cup Black beans cooked
- 1 cup roasted Corn cooked
- 1 cup Tomatoes chopped
- 2 Shallots chopped
- 2 pods Garlic sliced
- 2 tbsps Tomato paste
- 1 tsp Red chilly powder
- 1 tsp Mexican seasoning
- 1 tbsp Cilantro chopped
- 1 Jalapeno chopped
- Start with a large frying pan
- Saute shallots, garlic and jalapeno
- Add tomatoes, chickpeas, black beans and corn, stir well, put a lid on and cook for 5 minutes
- Add tomato paste, salt, seasoning powders, cilantro and 1/2 cup of water and cook for another 5 minutes
- The consistency should be thick and not watery
Assembling the Taco
- Take a cast iron skillet, drizzle some olive oil, toast the pita breads to golden brown on both sides
- Add scoops of prepared bean mixture and spread evenly
- Add a scoop of guacamole in the middle
- Remove taco and serve
- Allow guest to add toppings of olives, salsa, lettuce and cheese sauce, as preferred